Cultivating the Causes for Bodhicitta

These teachings were recorded at the Rimé Institute in Belgrave, Australia on April 23, 2015


Ok, so firstly, whether we are follower of Buddha Shakyamuni or not, make distinguish, you take refuge to the three jewels, or not. You take refuge in three jewels, or not. That is the distinguish. A follower of Buddha or not. Or another way of saying is Buddhist or not Buddhist. So another way, you know like, are you, your dharma, is inner training or your protector, external, that make distinguish. So as long as you are Buddha Shakyamuni follower, you can have external saviour and you can take refuge to the external three jewels.

However, the most important for you emphasising is the inner three jewels. And the most important dharma is internal training your own mind. So all body, speech, actions, is secondary support to training your mind. For this emphasises make a little bit different from Buddhist or non-Buddhist. We cannot say non Buddhist have no inner training. However the inner training, the emphasise the inner training and the extensiveness of the inner training and how much emphasise and focus of the inner training may make huge difference. So that’s why. Which we have already done the refuge part is, you just have to know what make you distinguish from the Buddhist or non-Buddhist.

So today, we going to talk about Bodhicitta. So Bodhicitta is make distinguish from Buddhist, you know inside Buddhist. Whether you are follower of the Mahayana Buddhism or Theravada Buddhism. So this Bodhicitta make distinguish within the Buddhist school, within the Buddhist tradition, within the Buddhist follower. So that keep in your mind, and then…and this probably a month, our goal to study Bodhicitta thoroughly.

But most important, don’t mix up Bodhicitta and this steps to reach to the Bodhicitta. So that’s often people mix up. So people cannot distinguish loving kindness, compassion and Bodhicitta. So there’s huge differences. So all of this mind trainings are steps to achieve Bodhicitta. Another way, the conditions to achieve the Bodhicitta. So that keep in the mind. So we are going to talk about first, these steps. Usually we talk about Bodhicitta first. We identify Bodhicitta and then we inspire by Bodhicitta and then we talk how to develop Bodhicitta. But this time I want to do a little bit flip around and we first talk about this steps toward the Bodhicitta. So there are several ways to step to the Bodhicitta.


So also another important thing you should always remember, within the Mahayana, have two major lineages ok. Two major lineages within the Mahayana. So one is from Manjushri, Nagarjuna, and then many, many, so that way. Another one is like Bodhisattva Maitreya and then Asanga and then so on and so forth. So that is major two lineages within the Mahayana. So every day I do have prayer and homage before the teaching, all these verses in there and explained, I should have in your book. So if you aware of, if you’re not aware, you try to read and aware what lineage. That means you wonder what’s our lineage. Our lineage is both, both is our lineage. This is mainly we talking about Bodhicitta lineage. We not talking about tantrayana, all those things. We just talking about the foundation of the tantrayana, Bodhicitta. So the Bodhicitta lineage we have these two.

So first Bodhisattva Maitreya and Asanga lineage and how they train the mind. Seven cause and effects. That way is training the mind toward Bodhicitta. Which means the six steps and then the seventh is Bodhicitta. We are going to talk that very briefly, and then we going to talk the Nagarjuna way.

Ok. So. Ok Asanga way, first we just have to remember all sentient beings been our mother and remind ourselves all sentient beings have been our mother. When we say mother, is not annihilate or not allow you thinking of father or your partner, brother, sister, any kind of beloved ones, we not annihilating all of them. But mother is one example of them. May not necessarily in one lifetime, your mother is not the most important to you. Or may not necessarily the most kind person to you, your mother. However in general, the mother is the most unconditional, loving, kind, compassionate toward the kids. So for this reason we taking this example. So Buddhism take this example. This Asanga lineage take this example.


So people who, the best practitioners, for this practise probably were mothers, you already been mother so you know how you feel the kids and how much you love and kind and unconditionally your child and how much sacrifices you do. And you know like, and how much you prepare the sacrifice, is unbelievable, so the best or easy to feel is you are already been mother probably. And then, you have to think all sentient beings as they been…you receive all like this loving kind, how much you feel your kids. That you received from all sentient beings already.

So there is many logic behind and many arguments which means really undefeatable, logic points. We don’t have to go details of that. But just try to feel that and you know sentient beings as been mother as kind as much as you did your own kids. Think that way. Is not necessarily beneficial how much you kind your kids, you reflecting every day, not necessarily beneficial, but if you can reflect how much all sentient beings to be kind to you, so many lifetimes, as much as you did to your own kids. Very beneficial.

So those who has not been mother, these people have to think intellectually, no choice. But quite obvious, you know, your own mother. Everybody definitely had own mother so hopefully, all our mothers are hopefully, as general mother, as kind as much as the general typical mother. If that, you can reflect that, and you try to all sentient beings, try to remember all sentient beings is to be kind to you, loving, many, many lifetimes this way.

So the first step is knowing all sentient beings are mother. That’s the first step, you just knowing. Knowing means doesn’t have to be proved, scientifically, but you just have to have this knowledge. Whether you need logic or just easy to believe it or in your mind thinking “doesn’t matter, is really been million times my mother or not” but it is beneficial to think of this. And then think of. The most main point is beneficial or not beneficial. So if beneficial then you can think that. So minimum benefits sure, maybe you have some, more improve gratitude toward you own mother, and so on. That is number one, step one. Knowing all sentient beings as mother

And second, as long as been mother, is naturally, unconditional love and compassionate toward you, toward yourself. So just remember that and understanding and reflecting that is second step.

And then third, ok so. Until this stage, eons and eons I’ve been sentient being and I have received so many mother kindness from all sentient beings. But all sentient being unable to, you know, repay their kindness. Why? Because all sentient beings want happiness but create causes of unhappiness. Which means, so in this time only I meet dharma and I reflecting very deeply, so now I know all sentient beings as mother and also I know how to repay their kindness. Why? Because I know dharma. Dharma is priceless value. So this can do anything. Anything else other than dharma in this world? Impossible. To repay even one mother’s kindness, not just all sentient being mothers, even one mother’s kindness. Very difficult to repay. But, this time fortunate, we have dharma, so dharma can repay all sentient being, all mother sentient beings, not just one mother. So thinking that is third step.

And then we say …(@ 26.43 uses Tib term). The fourth one. Then your feeling is change, your perception change, your perception is changed and your feeling is change. And starting warm heart within you. Toward all sentient beings. Before your warm heartedness, biased. Certain sentient being, not every sentient being. But now starting your warm heartedness, all sentient beings. Why? Because you already did three steps. That we call …(@ 37.36 uses Tib term). Which means the close, feeling closeness of the loving feeling.

This time you don’t have to be limitless loving nature, but your object is all sentient being. That is object is limitless. Your loving feeling doesn’t have to be limitless, still limited, but, it need changed then before, before you practise dharma. So now you know all sentient beings, countless times, every sentient being, countless times, my mother or whatever, something, you now the most beloved, mother whatever. So you know that, that’s why your heart is warm and all sentient beings you don’t see scary or unpleasant. Instead you see something your child. No matter how ugly your child or how naughty, still you have the warm heart. Is similar any sentient being, you should have the similar of the feeling. So doesn’t have to be exact the same yet, but should be have similar. If that you have, then you achieve the fourth step.

And then fifth step, compassion. So you think some people maybe don’t know what is the compassion and love but is different because the love is warm heartedness, feeling closeness. And you wishing to have all the best for this sentient being. Or even not all the best, but some best, you wishing they have some the best and better life or anything. So that is loving nature. But the compassion is a little bit more than, a little bit higher than loving. Why? Because compassion more focusing the suffering. So you want, your wish and your feeling, desire to remove their suffering, get rid of their suffering, reduce their suffering. That is your desire and your caring, so that is little bit harder than wishing to have better. You wishing to have better, a warm heartedness and you really care their suffering, is higher, one step higher. Why? Because suffering is unpleasant and you desire to get rid of the suffering more harder than you know, give somebody have pleasure. Harder than that, that’s why. So the fifth you have compassion, all sentient beings. Similar of, you have really caring, your kids, a similar of that, for all sentient beings. So that’s we have to practise.


And then the sixth we call …(@ 32.54 uses Tib term). Which means extra, extra kindness or extra loving compassion, what you say in the text? Superior, resolute intention, superior intention, whatever you call. Extraordinary, or extra. more than before you have loving kindness, compassion. Which means more developed your loving kindness and compassion basically. So like what? Like be kind, like your own child, all sentient beings. Like if you, every single sentient being have suffer, you see one sentient being suffer, you want, you really want, wish to get rid of their suffering, your desire to get rid of the suffering is the degree, is how strong as exactly as your own child. If your own child have this suffering, how strong your desire to get rid of this. Same of any of the sentient being you have this desire, and then becomes sixth. Six. So then one step is Bodhicitta. So ok. This one we leave here.

So now we go back. So the Nagarjuna way. As usual we always practise remember, first equanimity and then loving kindness and then we had the compassion, what you call, then rejoicing, we do that. Every day we chant this so we don’t go details of that. And then, another way, similar, as similar but a little bit different way, we call exchange isn’t it. Exchange self for others. That way you can train your mind. Remember try to achieving Bodhicitta, that’s all. We try to achieving Bodhicitta.

So that one, first, you practice equanimity. So how you practice equanimity? I going to talk my own ways, what I think. So Joe has some texts so if anything need extra, please, please add own, ok. So I think normally we don’t think, we don’t see all sentient beings equal ourselves. When I say equal, I’m not talking about loving kindness, compassion, anything. I’m talking about in general. In general. Everything, the total, the total differences, what we see we think is big differences. We may not necessarily see all sentient beings, there is big differences. Probably we can see big differences the other species, but within the human being, we not necessarily think huge differences, every individual. But in general we see differences. We see differences more than equal. So for this reason, some people we have very attached and some people we have, no. Or some people, how you say, some people we find very attractive, some people we find very annoying. Why? Because we seeing these huge differences. So we have to reduce that, our perception. But we see many, many ways, not just physical, mental, characteristics, personality, many, many things. So we focus on this basically. Naturally, you not doing purposefully, just naturally, so that’s why.

Of course we see ourselves as always central, the most primary. Like our solar system, we think ourselves as the sun. The others all the other stars, other planets. So without sun, they can’t do anything. So we almost see like that way. That is the root of samsara remember. And then within this planet, and we like this our planet, our earth fantastic, the others horrible. They don’t even have water, and everything so similar. And so within sentient beings we see, you know, some sentient beings we just scared, we don’t like, we don’t even like look at and smoke sentient beings we think so cute and nice, like this. And within the human being we do the same thing. Some people we cannot stand spend five minutes with and some we just desperate and dying for.


So we have to, I think do two things. One, we just remember, “me”, just every other sentient being, just same as every sentient being. Not we just talking ourselves, say you think you are, you don’t say it but you feel you are the most important. When I say this, maybe you can thinking, some of you thinking “oh I don’t think that way. I wouldn’t think I’m the most important”. I’m not saying intellectually. You not thinking “oh I am the most important, all other human beings inferior. I am the superior”. You’re not thinking that, definitely not thinking that. But how you cares yourself and feel and others feel is HUGE differences, that’s for sure. If you are not that means you are not normal sentient beings. You already quite high already. So we pretend we are all normal sentient being ok.

So at his stage, so we have to, this feeling “hmmm”. We just have to start thinking this feeling is funny. How come we born like that. Why we don’t see, kind of like equal, you know. Ok the other person having ice cream and you have no ice-cream but you are joyous, pleasure and the other, ice cream, eating. You may say “oh because I can’t feel that taste, so how can I have pleasure because I cannot feel that taste”. You would say that. How about if somebody praise this person, why you can’t enjoy. Somebody praise somebody else……the praise the person is very enjoy….why you can’t enjoy. (laughs). You could be enjoy, you can if you try, you can and sometimes you don’t even need try, you do. But 90% time we don’t, so think of that.

So anyway we have this really funny perception and funny feeling, so that’s something wrong, so we have to work on this, so that’s why equanimity. So we just have to start thinking. If we have to eat ice cream or chocolate or something. You have two people, both desperate. One eat, but you have very limited, so you are cutting. So would you cut exactly size or you cut yourself bigger? (laughs). I do bigger myself (laughs). I realise a few times. Why I do bigger for myself? (laughs) You know, so you may not everybody. Sometimes you don’t because you not desperate. Sometimes you don’t because the other people are watching. Sometimes you don’t because somebody maybe watching. Sometimes you don’t because you feel a little bit guilty. But you may done sometime. Doesn’t have to be food but anything. Anything you, you know we have this kind of nature. But mother, the small child, there is little food, you have to share, you desperate both. I’m sure definitely the mother give the big one the child and she eat the small one. And if not, can definitely guarantee, equal. Student – can’t hear Probably yes (laughs) so why?

You know so we just have to try equalise that. You know we try, have to equalise this first. So that means we just have to aware, you know like, ”ok, why I do this the other sentient being and me”. We have many things, many natural things, we are the same, similar, much more than the difference. Or even the number is not important. The most central things, we are the same. Ok I use Tanya. Tanya and I both desire for happiness, is equal? We both equal, doesn’t mean degree, the degree we don’t know, but we both want happiness? Yes no doubt. Is not, I don’t really care about happiness and Tanya cares a lot, it’s not that. It’s all the same. We both don’t want to suffer? Yes same. And then inside ok, we both want comfortable, equal. We both want delicious food, equal. We both don’t want disgusting food eat, equal (laughs). We both praise or blame, praise. Everything, everything, everything, everything. Whether clothes you know, anything. Everything. Not just only Tanya and me, everybody. So how many things we sentient beings all the same? Do we all scared for something? Yes. Do we avoid something? Yes. Sometimes you are very enjoy, whatever makes you joy. What makes you enjoy maybe not the same but your enjoy, is again the same. And how much you want to enjoy is again the same. What is make you scared, maybe not same but we both have, you know, potential to scared. Definitely equal. Everybody.

If you think this all small things, so many divide things, if you think each of them, “oh gosh, everybody so same”. But we are completely blind to all of that. When I say we, I’m not talking about in this room, we are the most blind, I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about all average people. Average people I say, we all. Yes because you know how much we love child, we know that, everything. But if you are hungry, even you not dying but just quite hungry, starving, you starving but not dying, then there’s another sentient being mother and child, definitely you killed them and eat it. And you don’t think my child and me together, oh how is if somebody kill my child, all children, and how… you don’t think that way.

So this all problem is we don’t see the equanimity. We see, what do we see? We see differences. We see ”oh this is lamb, this is cattle, this is fish and this mosquito, this is ants, and me is human” (laughs). Of course humans can kill ants, of course humans can fish, of course human kill lamb, and we all think that way. So the lamb and you desire for happiness, comfort, delicious food, everything the same. But you don’t think that way. And the scared and the murder, you know, the lamb scared of murder as much as you do, everything, but we don’t think that way. Very bad habituation we have. Very blank, habituation.

So equanimity I think you have to think these small single things, think, compare, analyse. “oh wow” try to feel. And then we…you don’t have to see you know like physically you are equal, you know. And you don’t have to see the intellectual, intelligent is equal, you don’t have to think those things. But this basic desire, basic fear, you know this primary living, primary living and dying, the fear and the desire, and the attraction and the aversion. All so same. So the most important I think, the fear and the desire. So we all same. So that’s why if you see this, that means you making a lot of room for other qualities to grow. So equanimity I see that way. So that’s my own way.


If you are already Buddhist and your taking refuge, the three jewels. External three jewels, internal, you own quality of three jewels, then you this practising you analysing this equanimity. Lead you to the Mahayana path, taking to the Bodhicitta. But if you are not Buddhist, still you can do that, still you can analyse, all sentient beings all our desire the same.

Let’s say you have very bad friend, not friend, acquaintances. So always try to take advantage you, and what you call, no gratitude, zero gratitude, whatever you done to him or her, no gratitude. Always take for granted and no respect, don’t understand you, don’t understand your values, what else it can be. Always back biting you, back stabbing you (laughs). So what else we can think is very bad, stolen your money, everything. So you may hate it because you see yourself is so superior. Because you never do, you never, you always have gratitude, you compare, probably compare. “If it’s me, what I done to this person, if he or she done to me I’m so grateful. You know I never do this back stabbing, I never stole their money”. You compare many things and then you see “oh, I’m so superior than this person, definitely, I’m maybe not very exceptional person in general but compare this bad person I am so superior”. Which is true, which is true. But if that makes you hate that person, leading that, and then is not that good.

So what you have to do? You have to think, yes, this you know like, quality, this temporary quality of grateful, generous and you know honest, not tricky, all this things, yes I am much better than him. But, our desire and fear very same. Is that person have desire? He doing all these bad things because he desire something else, that’s why he doing (laughs). So what you have desire maybe not same, you know. What you have fear not exactly the same but both have scared for something, that same. You both have desire for something that’s same. So desire for happiness, comfortable, nice taste, smell, all of them, definitely same. Maybe you have a different degrees of, maybe your bad friend, absolutely obsessed five sense luxuries and you are maybe not that bad, little bit less degree, but still same category, same category.

So what you do with this. You disconnect this person or you fight with this person or you let walk over you continue? (laughs). So the answer is you can do anything, you can do any of them, you can disconnect, you can fight, you can walk over on you, you can do any of them. But in your mind, the most important you understand that mind and try to have a little bit compassion because he doing very bad things, even worse than you. You have the same fear and desire but this person making cause and conditions even worse than you, so you try. You have intention to help basically. If that’s possibility, if not possibility, probably wasting your time, so he even making more negative karma because wasting your time so probably better to disconnect. But in your mind, you know why this person doing and you have, still you know equanimity there. You know, when I say equanimity, don’t think 100% equanimity. Just have to think there’s some degree, this very bad person and you are very good compared this person, but still there is some equanimity isn’t it. So try to understand that.


That is equanimity. And based on this equanimity, then there’s some room to grow. So you can practice the loving kindness. So when we say loving kindness, and usually the image people, “oh loving kindness, ohh, nice treat” yes?. You so love and nice treat. So this your bad person you already disconnected, so you can’t treat very nicely. So what are you going to do (laughs)? So you develop in your heart. You don’t have to treat now, that’s not important. The most important your heart accepting, your heart can still grow warm , warm heartedness, feeling closeness. Yes this person waste your time so you disconnected, yes. You connected but your feeling is not connected, you’re not disconnected, you know you still can have, you know, warm heartedness and feeling closeness.

Closeness doesn’t mean you tell everything, all your secret ok. But you not see as evil. You not see as evil. You not see…is not like you can’t think of them. If you can think of…you can’t think any more. If you think of, then you can’t sleep, you know you can’t. It’s not like that, still you can think of, if you need to. Still you can talk about if you need to. Why? Still, let you sleep. Still not make you angry. Why? Because you develop this warm heartedness and feeling closeness. Closeness doesn’t mean close, very, very close ok. But close enough to not make you absolutely upset. Not absolutely desperate. So we have to think disappointment, upset, angry, hatred. So you could have disappointment, their actions, but you not upset. That’s quite good. Or you may be little bit upset but not angry toward them. Maybe a little bit angry sometime but not hatred. Only little tiny bit hate sometimes but not resentment. So I mean for closeness means that. So in this reason, for this reason you can practise still loving kindness toward these people. Even you disconnected physically, but in your mind still you can. Which makes even your own life is easier. So imagine think of how many people, something happen after that, you hated them. You cannot even talk about them, so I think there are many, many situations, people can’t think about, can’t talk about, people can’t even think about.

So which means why? Because you didn’t develop this equanimity and warm heartedness. Loving kindness, you haven’t this. So because we have very false image, false idea, our kindness have to be give materiality, give lollies, have false speech. “oh you are beautiful, you are fantastic, you are awesome, you are brilliant”. We so call is kindness, we so call kind words, but in the same time we know it’s not true. But we pretend is true (laughs). So I’m not saying you can’t use kind words. You can use that Bodhicitta, you know bodhisattva practise, one of bodhisattva practise, you use kind words, but have to be genuine. Have to be genuine. You know. We are going opposite too much in this society.

And also, you can receive the kindness from all sentient beings. If you have this warm heartedness. If you don’t narrow down that kindness, is only treatment, physical treatments. Verbal treatments, if you don’t see that way, and then you can receive many kindness. For instance, no I become worse, but from beginning I come to Australia and I’m walking in the garden or park or anywhere, I feeling so grateful, you know, whoever done this park, whoever plant these trees. So we have to have that kind of attitude. You know like, our walking the bridge so thanks for who treat this bridge. Walking in the park you know, feeling so grateful to them, and you see their kindness. Which means you receive, you receive other people’s kindness and you be kind to others, so other people can receive your kindness. But now you receiving other people’s kindness, you didn’t even meet them. You didn’t even have to meet them physically but you receive what they done and you enjoying, isn’t it. But how often we forgot that. How often we forgot that. So I want to repeat again, how often we forget that (laughs). So what you do in the future? Remind yourself, so you receive their kindness so you practise kindness for them too. Not only for them, but for anybody. Whether you are meeting or not meeting. Don’t thinking all the kindness have to be I met, I have to be around me. Don’t think that way.


So remember that fake kindness and true kindness, or the narrow kindness and the bold/bored (?) kindness. Distinguish that. And then you can say…you can have enemy, but you still practise kindness to enemy. That means your enemy is same name but not other people’s enemy. Same name but not same reality. If want to change names and not call enemy, call something else that’s ok. But you can use also saying my enemy, but your enemy, your attitude toward enemy is not the same (laughs). But people always of course misunderstood. They think you know, in normal way “oh my enemy”. “oh you have enemy?”. “Yes of course”. “What did you fight for?”. “I didn’t fight, I didn’t do anything, but they did harm me so that’s why I so called them enemy”. “oh, do you want to revenge the enemy?” “not really, unless have good reason very good reason” (laughs). Something like that.

Ok. So first we see many, many, many things. The major things, primary things, the other sentient beings we are the same. We realise that. So that is make equanimity. Equanimity means, doesn’t mean 100% equanimity but much more equal than before you thought. Much more equal than usually what people think.

And then second, and then you understood what the loving kindness and what is fake loving kindness and what is narrow love and kindness and what is the bored. So now you see the benefits and benefit in your mind. So now any exercise, whatever way you want to do. Exercise’s, I think people… not too structured, you should do your own way. You can do structure way in the book and anything but you can do your own way as well. So that first one makes much more equal than before. Second one make much more, how you say, flexible, open, flexible.

What third do, this time, really you try to be completely equal. We call….(@1.14.38 uses Tib term). So which means, me oneself and others, you try to practise equal kindness, equal loving. So you try to all sentient beings, how much you cares yourself. Try to do that. Everything. Whatever you treat yourself. Whatever you have the desire. Everything you equalise this time, really equalise.

The first equanimity is preparing. Second, you prepare your heart and attitude. Both is attitude actually, different way. Now third, you actualising. You actualising equanimity so that include loving kindness, compassion, desire, everything. You actualise everything. And then fourth, you exchange. Exchange. You thinking until now, I care myself more than others, that’s why I am in the samsara. So from now on, I want others before then myself. Put before than myself. So which means still exercise. This is actualise equanimity after you exercising exchange. So you think all weakness of thinking oneself as more important than others and you see how is the benefits, the good qualities of exchange, put others before oneself. Think of any point of think of, everything you have many, many in the texts. Probably Joe tell you later what text better, what available in English ok. We practise all of them, then you are ready to Bodhicitta. So you may think, “oh, still is not Bodhicitta. Even I put myself before all others, still not Bodhicitta. What more I can do? (laughs.) There is nothing more, maybe you may think that, but some of them you already know, some of them you will discover. Ok so we have to practise. Next week we talk Bodhicitta, we learn Bodhicitta, thoroughly this time, thoroughly. Even you can debate monks and defeat them.